“… The son of Enos, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.” – Luke 3.38
Adam failed. Big time. He sinned, he fell out with God, his spirit died, and all his descendants were born carrying his nature—dead in the spirit (Romans 5.12-15), children of wrath (Ephesians 2.1-3). Woe are we! But the Father had a plan—a lovely, wonderful, absolutely amazing, gracious plan! Promised right from the garden of Eden, looked forward to in hope until fulfilled in our earth-time, but accessible to all mankind throughout the generations (Revelation 13.8, 1 Peter 1.19-21).
For to which of the angels did God ever say,
“You are my Son, today I have begotten you”?
“I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son”?
And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says,“Let all God’s angels worship him.”Hebrews 1.5-6 (ESVUK)
A second Adam—that’s the answer! Someone who would again be borne of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 15.45-49), will be tested and tempted–but will never sin—will choose not to sin! Someone who will be our advocate to the Father, the spotless Lamb who will take the sins of the world (Hebrews 2.9), put on His righteousness on us (2 Corinthians 5.21)—our pure, unblemished High Priest! We shall be made alive again in Christ (Ephesians 2.4-9), we can now be children of God, and He will bring us to glory with Him (Hebrews 2.10).
But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. – 1 Corinthians 15.20-23 (ESVUK)
My friends—would you like to be born again—this time with the Spirit of God? Our hope is in the second Adam, who is God himself, who breathes the Spirit into us as we are willing (John 20.22).
For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers,saying,
“I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise.”
“I will put my trust in him.”
“Behold, I and the children God has given me.”
– Hebrews 2.11-13 (ESVUK)
Again, my friends, the second chance is your last chance! Don’t delay!
Deception is Satan’s stock and trade; and he is the god of this world and he uses deception every possible way he can. This morning I just want to talk about the reality of a deception from a very clear narrative in Scripture, and I want you to turn to Matthew chapter 26. Now you’re going to have to have your Bible handy because we’re going to do something like we’ve been doing and cover large portions of Scripture together. Just to remind you of the fact that Satan is a deceiver, He planted, He planted a deceiver among the twelve disciples, right alongside the faithful. This has always been his ploy.
I’ve been reading some surveys this last week or so in which, quote-unquote, “evangelicals” have been surveyed. “Evangelical” is a term that comes from euaggelizō in Greek, which means to preach the gospel, so supposedly, gospel believers. And I read that the majority of gospel believers believe that Jesus was created by God the Father. The majority of evangelicals believe that God accepts any religion and lets people into His heaven.
That’s contemporary evangelicalism. It is not true. A true gospel believer does not believe Jesus was a created being. The survey said a third of evangelicals does not believe Jesus is God. No true Christian would say that; heretics say that, apostates say that, and those who reject the gospel say that.
But somehow it’s become acceptable to believe that and still be labeled an evangelical. If you think the pandemic has created confusion, just remind yourself that that confusion has to do with temporal life. The confusion on the spiritual level is infinitely worse because it has to do with eternal life. So I want to tell you a story that our Lord provided through Matthew and some of the other gospel writers. But I want to go back to history a little bit and tell you about two preachers.
In the mid twentieth century here in America there were two young very gifted evangelists. They came on the scene together. You know one of them very well: Billy Graham. His history is common knowledge. The other one you likely have not heard of. His name was Charles Templeton. Along with Billy Graham, Charles Templeton and another preacher by the name of Torrey Johnson, whom I knew and for whom I preached when I was young, founded what is known as Youth for Christ to reach young people with the gospel.
It was always said that Charles Templeton was the most gifted preacher. He was intelligent. He was irresistible in his personality. He was winsome. He was effective. He was handsome. In 1946 the National Association of Evangelicals gave an award out, a bizarre award called “Best Used by God.” What a ridiculous thing, as if they knew. And they gave it to Charles Templeton.
He and Billy Graham began to preach together and they were called the Gold Dust Twins.” Charles Templeton overshadowed Billy Graham: he was more eloquent, he was more brilliant, he was a more polished orator. And the two of them went on a preaching tour to Europe. They went to England, Scotland, Ireland, Sweden, other places. They had a weekly television program that spanned the nation – CBS, NBC – through the 1950s. They were church planters. Charles Templeton was engaged in that. Charles Templeton became a pastor. He held youth rallies with thousands of people. He went to Princeton Seminary. He preached across the United States to crowds of 20,000 people. He preached for an entire week at Yale University, Charles Templeton.
He was at the peak of his ministry in the 1950s when he announced that he was an agnostic, which is to say he doesn’t know what he believes. He rejected Christ. He rejected the gospel. He rejected Scripture. He read – he says in his biography – Thomas Paine in ten days. Beyond that he read Voltaire, Bertrand Russell, Robert Ingersoll, David Hume, and Aldous Huxley – a list of atheists. He abandoned all Christianity and all biblical truth, became a journalist in Canada. In 1999 he wrote a memoir on his life titled Farewell to God, and in it he listed his reasons for rejecting Christianity and becoming an atheist. He left all ministry at that point in 1957, returned to Canada, stepped into eternal blackness and apostacy, blasphemed Christ for his remaining years, and died in utter unbelief.
Are there other preachers like him? Of course. Do we know that they’re frauds? Not always. But this is how Satan works. But I want you to look at two other preachers that our Lord tells us about in the wonderful story of Matthew 26 and 27. This is a tale of two preachers and a tale of two sorrows. It’s a tale of two men that you know very well. Both had the most unique privilege. Both had the most unique opportunity that has ever been given any human being. Both were called by Jesus personally. Both answered that call, and both followed Jesus for the duration of His ministry. And both declared repeatedly their personal devotion to the Lord Jesus.
Both were personally trained by Jesus for ministry. Both were personally taught by Jesus; you could say in contemporary terms they were in His small group. He taught them by precept. He taught them by proposition. He taught them by example. He taught them to know God, to know the will of God, the Word of God, and to live it obediently. Both saw all the miracles Jesus did. Both saw the comprehensive revelation of His divine nature every day. Both saw His power over demons, His power over disease, His power over death, His power over nature.
Both heard Him answer every theological question perfectly, truthfully, clearly, profoundly. Both saw Him evaluate every person He ever met, perfectly true to that person’s heart condition. Both were daily confronted with the reality of sin and its affects and need for salvation. Both were taught about eternal heaven, both were taught about eternal hell. Both received and used the available power of the Lord Jesus to do healing miracles and even exercise authority over demons. Both preached Jesus as Messiah and Savior: Son of Man, Son of God. And they shared all of this together. They were exposed to the Lord Jesus Christ in exactly the same way.
And there’s more. Both were sinners, knew it well. Both experienced overwhelming guilt regarding their sin. Both gave themselves over to Satan to take up his cause against the Son of God. Both betrayed Jesus boldly, emphatically, publicly, and they betrayed Him at the end of their years with Him just before He was crucified. Both were devastated by what they had done. One, in spite of his wicked betrayal of the Savior, is considered so honorable a man, so exalted a person, that millions of people have been named after him through the centuries. He is loved. He is considered noble. Some of you even have his name: Peter – rock, stone.
The other one is considered so dishonorable, so despicable, that even though his name means praise, no one has his name. None of you do. None of you would name your child with that name. The name means praise. It’s the most hated and reviled name in the world. It has even been illegal in some European countries to give a child that name. His name is Judas.
One, we who belong to Christ will all meet because that betrayer of Jesus Christ is in heaven. The other: those who reject Christ may meet, if there are meetings in hell, because that’s where he is, along with other preachers like him. One of these preachers ended his life a suicide, hanging himself, eternally banished. The other ended his life a saint, crucified upside-down and taken into glory. Two men, side by side, 24/7 for three years with each other, with Jesus, ended up separated as far as anyone can be separated, as far as heaven is from hell.
One has his name always first in every list of the twelve, the other has his name always last in every list of the twelve. One enthroned in heaven, the other consigned to hell. And yet they both betrayed Jesus. They both regretted that betrayal. They both were sorry. One is honored in heaven, the other is punished in hell. What a contrast. They couldn’t have been more similar, they couldn’t have ended up more differently.
Salvation can’t be by works because essentially they both did the same thing. Can’t be by knowledge because they both had the same information, were taught the same truth. What made the difference? What made the difference?
Now this is an important message because churches are full of Peters and Judases. And I’m convinced that there are many Judases who don’t know they are Judas. People sitting side-by-side, hearing the same truth, having the same experience, seeing the same expression of divine grace and power in people’s lives, serving; but in the end they’re going to end up as far apart as one could ever be. The story of both of these men is in Matthew 26; let’s look at it.
Verse 1: “When Jesus had finished all these words,” – words, by the way, about eternal punishment and eternal life, as verse 46 indicates – “He said to His disciples, ‘You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man is to be handed over for crucifixion.’” They didn’t like to hear that, but that is what the Lord has been saying to them on a regular basis since they started toward Jerusalem.
Back in chapter 16, verse 21, “From that time Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day.” He constantly told them of His coming death.
In verse 3 we find it was planned: “Then the chief priests and the elders of the people were gathered together in the court of the high priest, named Caiaphas; and they plotted together to seize Jesus by stealth and kill Him. But they were saying, ‘Not during the festival, otherwise a riot might occur among the people.’” They wanted Him dead because He assaulted their hypocritical false religion, but they didn’t want to start a riot because He was so popular with the people. They were trying to figure out how to pull that off.
In verse 6, “When Jesus was in Bethany, at the home of Simon the leper, a woman came to Him with an alabaster vial of very costly perfume, and she poured it on His head as He reclined at the table. But the disciples were indignant when they saw this, and said, ‘Why this waste? For this perfume might have been sold for a high price and the money given to the poor.’” It says there that the disciples said, but in John 12:4 it says it was Judas. It was Judas.
And why was he protesting? John tells us because he kept the money bag. He had already decided to get out. He’d already wasted three years and he wanted to get as much money on the way out as he could. Here is really the first revelation of his character: none of the disciples had any suspicions of Judas, none. But he reveals himself by being outraged that this is being wasted when the money could have been put in the bag; and he said that because he held the bag.
Verse 12: “When she poured this perfume on My body, she did it to prepare for My burial.” This is another crushing blow to Judas. Judas wants money, he wants power. He was riding the messianic hope of Jesus to the end. He wanted significance. Primarily he was driven by avarice or greed. Now he hears Jesus is going to die and Jesus is going to be buried, and all his hopes and three years of his life chasing this dream of prominence and power and money is being smashed. All this talk of death is more than he can stomach.
So in verse 14, “One of the twelve, named Judas Iscariot,” – Judas from the town of Kerioth, the only non-Galilean – “went to the chief priests and said, ‘What are you willing to give me to betray Him to you?’ They weighed out thirty pieces of silver to him. From then on he began looking for a good opportunity to betray Jesus.” By the way, according to Exodus 21:32, thirty pieces of silver was the price of a slave.
This is shocking. Disappointment we can understand. Betrayal is stunning. Given that he had been with the Lord for three years, given that he had been exposed to everything, this is the most perfect relationship, perfect environment that any human being could ever be in. And the staggering reality is how can someone who’s been three years with Jesus walk away and betray Him for money? But that was Judas.
We’re now into the Passion Week and it’s Thursday night, verse 17, and they’re going to go eat the Passover. Verse 18, our Lord says, “Go into the city to a certain man, and say to him, ‘The Teacher says, “My time is near; I am to keep the Passover at your house with My disciples.”’ The disciples did as Jesus had directed them; and they prepared the Passover. When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the twelve disciples. As they were eating,” – verse 21 – “He said, ‘Truly I say to you, one of you will betray Me.’”
It’d be hard to imagine the shock, the horror, the disbelief. And they had no idea who that betrayer would be. And they were honest enough with their own sinfulness to think it might even be one of them, verse 22, “Being deeply grieved, they each one began to say to Him, ‘Surely not I, Lord?’ And He answered, ‘He who dipped his hand with Me in the bowl is the one who will betray Me.” They dipped bread in a bowl with a kind of a dip as part of the meal.
“One who dipped his hand with me in the bowl is the one who will betray Me. The Son of Man is to go, just as it is written of Him; but woe to that man,” – woe means to curse or condemn – “to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born. And Judas, who was betraying Him, said, ‘Surely it is not I, Rabbi?’” He needed to say that because everybody was saying it. “Jesus said to him, ‘You’ve said it yourself.’”
I think that’s the most horrible thing that could ever be said about a human being, “It would have been better for him if he’d never been born,” because once born he’ll never die. Judas can’t hide from Jesus.
Down to verse 30: “After singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.” That evening that Passover was over, the betrayer was unmasked. Jesus took with Him Peter, James and John to pray because He had to pour out His soul to the Father. Starting in verse 36 you have Him come to Gethsemane, and He asks them to pray with Him, but they all fall asleep.
Each time He comes back they’re sleeping, verse 43, “He came and found them sleeping, their eyes were heavy. He left them again, and went away, prayed a third time, saying the same thing once more. Then He came to the disciples and said to them, ‘Are you still sleeping and resting? Behold, the hour is at hand and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. You couldn’t pray with Me as I face this?’ And He said, ‘Get up, let us be going; behold, the one who betrays Me is at hand!’”
At that point Judas goes into action, verse 47, “While He was still speaking, behold, Judas, one of the twelve, came up accompanied with a large crowd with swords and clubs, who came from the chief priests and elders of the people.” Notice how Judas is identified: “one of the twelve.” Always, always identified that way in the Gospels, always, to underscore the shock and insidiousness of this man’s betrayal. At this point, of course, Satan entered Judas.
In John chapter 6 and verse 70, “Jesus, looking at His disciples, said, ‘One of you is a devil. One of you is a devil.’” In John 13 and verse 2, it says, “The devil put it into the heart of Judas to betray Jesus.” And in John 13:27, it says, “Satan entered Judas.” “One of you is an adversary.” That was Judas. The devil put it in his heart to betray Jesus, gave him the thought, and then took total control. John 13:27, “He entered into Judas.” He was Satan-possessed.
Verse 48: “Now he who was betraying Him gave them a sign, saying, ‘Whomever I kiss, He’s the one; seize Him.’ Immediately Judas went to Jesus and said, ‘Hail, Rabbi!’ and kissed Him repeatedly.” – in the original – “And Jesus said to him, ‘Friend,’ – and He used, by the way, not the normal word for friend, but “associate” – ‘friend, do what you’ve come for.’ Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and seized Him.”
At that point, we drop down to verse 57: “Those who seized Jesus led Him away to Caiaphas, the high priest,” – and you know the rest of the story of the trials. Go down to verse 65: “Finally, the high priest tore his robes and he said” – with regard to Jesus – ‘He has blasphemed! He has blasphemed!’ – blasphemed by declaring that He is the Son of God – ‘What further need do we have of witnesses? Behold, you have now heard the blasphemy; what do you think?’ They answered, ‘He deserves death!’ they replied. Then they spat in His face and beat Him with their fists; and others slapped Him, and said, ‘Prophesy to us, You Christ, You Messiah; who is the one who hit You?’” The action of Judas led to this true blasphemy as the Jewish leaders blasphemed the Son of God.
Go to chapter 27, verse 1: “Now when morning came, all the chief priests and the elders of the people conferred together against Jesus to put Him to death; and they bound Him, and led Him away and delivered Him to Pilate the governor.” I just want to point out one word, verse 1, “all”: all the chief priests; all the Sanhedrin, a body of seventy; all the elders of the people. All of them conferred together against Jesus to put Him to death. It was unanimous, a unanimous decision.
Then the tragedy of Judas comes to its crucial moment, verse 3: “Then when Judas, who had betrayed Him, saw that He had been condemned, he felt remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, ‘I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.’ But they said, ‘what is that to us? See to that yourself! You gave us what we wanted. You led us to Jesus in the dark.’ He threw the pieces of silver into the temple sanctuary and departed.” Very simple ending: “He went away and hanged himself. He went away and hanged himself.
“Chief priests took the pieces of silver and said, ‘Not lawful to put them into the temple treasury.’ – that is a statement of legalism like none I’ve never read; they’re about to kill the Son of God, but they’re not going to break one of their ridiculous rules – ‘It is not lawful to put them into the temple treasury since it is the price of blood.’ – they would take the money and execute the Messiah, but not put it in the temple treasury – “So they conferred together and with the money bought the Potter’s Field as a burial place for strangers. for this reason that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day. Then that which was spoken through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: ‘And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of the one whose price had been set by the sons of Israel; and they gave them for the Potter’s Field, as the Lord directed me.’”
And by the way, that is from Zechariah chapter 11, but it mentions Jeremiah because Jeremiah was sort of the head of the list of prophets. The Hebrew Old Testament list of prophets began with Jeremiah. The horrible tragedy of Judas, the greatest tragedy in human history because of unparalleled opportunity.
You know, our Lord said, “To whom much is given, much is required.” And He said that as a warning, as a warning. You don’t want to be too close to the truth because the implications of rejecting it are more severe than anything you could ever do.
Judas is the greatest tragedy in human history because of his unparalleled privilege. He is the ultimate in wasted opportunity. He was greedy. He was a materialist. He was a money lover. He was motivated by a desire for riches. So strong was his selfish greed that he could literally be in the midst of the living truth and go to hell on purpose. He loved himself way too much, he rejected the truth way too easily, and he resented Jesus much too strongly. Most powerful demonstration of wasted opportunity ever. That’s Judas.
But our Lord has the writer weave in the story of Peter, so let’s go back to chapter 26, verse 20. What’s happening with the other of these two disciples, these two preachers? Pick the story up where we were a little while ago: “When evening was come, Jesus was reclining at the table with the twelve disciples.”
Now we come to verse 26: “While they were eating, Jesus took some bread, and after blessing it, He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, ‘Take, eat; this is My body.’” By the way, Judas is gone. He had left, it was just the eleven that were together for the establishment of the Lord’s Supper.
In verse 30, we see again, “After singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. Then Jesus said to them, ‘You will all fall away because of Me this night.’ – that is just too shocking, they all look like potential Judases – ‘You will all fall away because of Me this night, for it is written, “I will strike down the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered.”’ – that’s Zechariah 13:7; that’s a prophecy, and it happened – ‘But’ – verse 32 – ‘after I have been raised, I will go ahead of you to Galilee.’” That’s such an important statement because our Lord is saying, “After your defection, you’re going to come back.” Not like Judas who hanged himself. And the book of Acts says, “His body was smashed on the rocks,” which means he couldn’t even do a good job of hanging himself; the branch broke and he plunged to the rocks and was crushed.
But we find hope in verse 32: “I will go ahead of you to Galilee. You’re going to be scattered. You’re going to be unfaithful, you’re going to forsake Me, you’re going to leave Me, but I’m going to gather you back together.” And now we meet Peter.
Verse 33: “Peter said to Him, ‘Even though all may fall away because of You, I will never fall away.’” He was boastful. “Jesus said to him, ‘Truly I say to you, this very night, before a rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.’ Peter said to Him, ‘Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You.’ All the disciples said the same thing too.” A shocking prophecy by our Lord.
As evil as was Judas’ betrayal, as heinous and wicked as was his rejection of Jesus, his shame over Christ, Peter would do the same thing. Back in Matthew 16, when Jesus said He was going to die, Peter said, “No, no. No, Lord, that’s not going to happen,” and Jesus looked right at Peter and said, “Get behind Me, Satan!” Satan put things in the mind of Judas, Satan put things in the mind of Peter. Judas was influenced by Satan, Peter was influenced by Satan.
Now let’s pick up this story of His betrayal in verse 69: “Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard, and a servant-girl came to him and said, ‘You too were with Jesus the Galilean.’ – now remember, this is the courtyard at the high priest’s house where Jesus is on trial, and Jesus has been deemed a blasphemer – ‘You too were with Jesus the Galilean.’ But he denied it before them all, saying, ‘I do not know what you are talking about.’” And we gasp for breath because Peter had just said, “Even though all may fall away because of You, I will never fall away. Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You.” So much for knowing his own heart. When a little servant-girl says, “Oh, you were with Jesus the Galilean,” he denies it not only to her, but before everybody around the fire in the courtyard: “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“When he had gone out to the gateway,” – he relocates to get away – “another servant-girl saw him and said to those who were there, ‘This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.’ And again he denied it this time with an oath, ‘I do not know the man.’ A little later the bystanders came up and said to Peter, ‘Surely you too are one of them; for even the way you talk gives you away. You talk that sort of Galilean Jesus talk.’ Then he escalates. He began – first he said no, then he said no with an oath, and now he says no with a curse and swearing, ‘I do not know the man!’ And immediately a rooster crowed.”
Sad account. Peter actually pronounced a death curse on himself if he was lying. He pronounced a death curse on himself if he was lying. Did he kill himself? No. Judas pronounced a death curse on himself and carried it out. But there’s an amazing moment in verse 75: “Peter remember the word which Jesus had said, ‘Before a rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.’” Doesn’t say he went out and hanged himself. It says, “He went out and wept bitterly.” Amazing moment.
At that moment, by the way, at that moment, Luke in his account of the same scene says in chapter 22, verse 61, “And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. The Lord turned and looked at Peter,” at the moment of his final betrayal. When Judas’ eyes met Jesus, Judas boldly kissed him with the hatred of a hypocrite. When Peter was in the midst of his self-curse and he met the eyes of Jesus, he broke down in tears. Crushing sadness led Judas to suicide without repentance. Crushing sadness led Peter to restoration with repentance. This is the crucial moment. Both knew they were betrayers: one kills himself, the other is restored.
How did Peter fall so far? Well, he boasted too much. We know he prayed too little because he fell asleep. We know he acted too fast: he grabbed a sword. And then we know he followed too far. He was way out in the courtyard. Why was this not the end of Peter? What distinguishes Peter from Judas? What’s going on here? I’ll give you the simple answer, this is where all of this goes: Judas hated Jesus because he wanted something Jesus was not going to deliver to him. He had false expectations of what Jesus intended to do for him. When those expectations aren’t met, people hate Jesus. False preachers will give people lies about what Jesus intends to do for them to fulfill their drives and ambitions; and when it turns out that doesn’t happen, they will hate Jesus for it.
The difference was Peter didn’t hate Jesus, he loved Him. Jesus says to him in John 21 three times – you know the story – verse 15, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” Second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” Third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” and he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” And the Lord accepted that as true because He said, “Feed My sheep. Feed My lambs. Feed My sheep.”
That is the deep and compelling reality of a true believer: love for Christ. That’s where we’re going, right? That’s what sets people apart. Hypocrites don’t love Christ, they love whatever it is that they love for their own personal fulfillment. The apostle Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:14, “For the love of Christ controls us.”
There could not be a more clear statement than 1 Corinthians 16:22. Listen to these words: “If anyone does not love the Lord, he is to be accursed. If anyone does not love the Lord, he is to be accursed.” What distinguishes a true believer from a false believer? What distinguishes those who are of Peter from those who are of Judas is love for Christ, love for Christ.
Is this just an emotion? No. Listen to the words of our Lord in John 14. That night in the upper room at the Passover Jesus defined what it was to love Him, verse 15. John 14:15, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” That’s not a command, that’s a statement of fact. “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” Verse 21, “He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.” Again, in verse 23, “Jesus answered and said to him, ‘If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word,’ – He says that again and again – ‘and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.’”
Verse 24, “He who does not love Me does not keep My words.” Verse 28, “If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced because I go to the Father, for the Father is greater than I,” which is to say if you love Christ, you obey His word, and you desire His glory and His honor.
Because Peter loved Christ, his betrayal did not send him to hell. In fact, in Luke 22, a glorious moment in Peter’s life. Listen to verse 31. In response to Peter’s betrayal, the Lord says to him, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat. Yeah, Satan’s been working in you just the same way he worked in Judas. But I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”
What was the difference? Jesus prayed for Peter that his faith would not fail. We sung it, didn’t we. Do you know the song? “He will” – what? – “hold me fast. My soul will not be lost. He will hold me fast.” That’s what John 17 is about. The whole prayer in John 17 is the Son of God praying to the Father on behalf of all who belong to Him, and telling the Father how precious they are to the Trinity, and how He will keep them. The Lord kept Peter, restored Peter, empowered Peter; and he’s the powerful preacher as the church explodes – first twelve chapters of the book of Acts.
Sin and guilt do not produce true repentance. Did you hear that? Sin and guilt, which are normal human responses to sin, patterns of sin, the awareness of sin, guilt over sin does not produce true repentance. It can produce remorse. It can produce regret. It can produce suicide, which is a kind of deadly sadness. But awareness of sin and guilt for sin does not produce true repentance. Judas was sorry; it didn’t make him repent, made him kill himself. Peter was sorry,; but even his sorrow did not make him repent. What I’m saying is the ugliness of your sin and the reality of your guilt is not enough to make a sinner repent savingly. You may have regret, but not repentance.
What makes the sinner repent – listen – is not to see your sin, but to see your Savior. Judas looked in Jesus’ eyes, kissed Him and went to hell. Peter looked in Jesus’ eyes, was crushed in tears. Peter loved his Lord, he saw Him with eyes of faith and trust and love. Peter loved the Lord.
Earlier, John 6, “a lot of the disciples who followed Jesus” – kind of the fringe disciples – “left Him, and He said, ‘Will you also go away?’ And Peter said, ‘To whom shall we go? You and You alone have the words of eternal life.’” Again, “Jesus says to the disciples, ‘Who do men say that I am?’ and they said, ‘Oh, some say You’re Elijah or one of the prophets.’ Peter said, ‘You’re the Christ, the Son of the living God.’” He didn’t just know who Jesus was, he loved Him as his Lord and Savior.
Listen to Peter’s words. Go to 1 Peter chapter 1, verse 3. Here’s a fully restored Peter writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit; and you can feel his own experience in what he writes. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ,” – and then this – “and though you have not seen Him, you” – what? – “you love Him. Though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him, and you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining the salvation of your souls.” That is the outcome of your faith. You haven’t seen Him, but – what? – you love Him. You see Him in the Word, do you not?
Two followers, two disciples, two students, two preachers indistinguishable even to their own close companions. One a suicide and went to hell, one a saint who’s in heaven. Both betrayed Jesus in very adamant, public ways. All the similarities did not lead to a common end. They are forever separated by an impassible gulf. Judas hated Jesus, Peter loved Him.
Hear the words of Paul, Ephesians 6: “Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an incorruptible love.” What does it mean to be a Christian? Means to love Christ. What does it mean to love Christ? Obey His word, right?
In 2001 Charles Templeton was dying, dying an atheist. According to people who were there, these were his last words: “I miss Jesus. I miss Jesus.” And he will forever. That’s the remorse that lasts forever.
Our Father, we thank You for the Scripture. We thank You for its profound poignancy, its power. We thank You that all You ask of us is not that we earn anything, but that we love You. And we know we can’t even do that. If we do love You, we love You because You first loved us. I pray, Lord, that everyone who hears this message will be given such a magnificent picture of Jesus, looking into His glorious face that elicits from them love beyond any love, more profound, more exalted, more deep, more rich, more all-consuming than any other affection.
Lord, grant the love of the Savior to every heart. May they see Him as God the Son who lived a sinless life, died a sacrificial death as a substitute for sinners, rose from the dead, ascended to heaven and seated at the right hand where He intercedes for His own with love, and one day will come to gather all of us into His kingdom and eternal glory. Give everyone the true understanding of Christ. It’s to us who love Christ inconceivable that someone could be with Him for three years and not love Him beyond all other loves. But sin is profound, and the fallen heart is hard, and love of self doesn’t die easily; it has to be produced by You. Reach into every heart. Take out self-love, replace it with love for Christ. We pray these things to the praise of Your glory. Amen.
Today Giorgia Meloni will become Head of the Italian State. With your leadership, Western Europe will stand up and stop the advance of the globalist poison. LONG LIVE THE EUROPE OF THE PATRIOTS! via Candela Sol
The Italian Center Right Party won big in national elections on Sunday making Georgia Meloni the first female leader in the country’s history.
Italy will hold elections on Sunday. It is widely expected that populist candidate Giorgia Meloni will become Italy’s first female prime minister.
The elites are already in full panic.
CNN reported on the race. They’ve already started their smears:
Her policy platform will be familiar to those who have followed far-right rhetoric in recent years: She’s openly questioned LGBTQ+ and abortion rights, aims to curb immigration, and appears obsessed with the idea that traditional values and ways of life are under attack because of everything from globalization to same sex marriage.
It should be of little surprise to learn that one of her biggest fans is Steve Bannon, the man who largely created the political ideology of former US President Donald Trump and is credited with giving birth to the American alt-right movement.
European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen has warned Italy of consequences should it veer away from democratic principles, issuing a barely veiled threat ahead of Sunday’s election that a rightist bloc led by Giorgia Meloni is expected to win.
The comments highlighted concern in some European capitals over the forthcoming election and suggested that relations between Brussels and Rome could get turbulent if Meloni and her partners secure victory.
“My approach is that whatever democratic government is willing to work with us, we’re working together,” von der Leyen said at Princeton University in the United States on Thursday, responding to a question on whether there were any concerns with regard to the upcoming elections in Italy.
“If things go in a difficult direction, I’ve spoken about Hungary and Poland, we have tools,” she added.
Matteo Salvini, the head of the League and a part of Meloni’s conservative alliance, denounced her comments as “shameful arrogance”.
Bishop Leon Benjamin Warns that the Deep State is Rigging Even Local Elections
Bishop Leon Benjamin is a preacher through and through, but during the 2020 Election he felt led by God to run for Congress, so he obeyed and did so. On Election Night, November 3rd, 2020, he was winning in a landslide and it appeared as if he was going to head to Washington DC to serve in the United States Congress.
At 3am, however, a bunch of votes poured in for his opponent, literally stealing the election right from underneath him. This is the same thing that happened to President Trump, as well. We, as the conservative movement, have focused so much on the rigging of the Presidential election that many don’t realize that it also happened in the Senatorial, Congressional and even local elections.
This is widespread election fraud of an even larger magnitude than is typically talked about.
“It happened down ballot. It happened on the Senatorial, as well as the Congressional level. And now we’re seeing that it probably happened on the school board level and the city council level, the mayoral level.
“I thank God that in Virginia, we had a new governor. Everybody is saying, ‘Virginia is red. Virginia has always been red.’ But now we are finding out that with the electoral process, the elections – it’s not really voter fraud – it’s election fraud. Being able to manipulate votes.
“The Real Story on the Document Hoax” – Jesse Watters Shares the Truth Behind President Trump’s Legal Actions Regarding His Presidential Records
President Trump shared Jesse Watters’s segment on FOX News showing how past Presidents maintained their presidential records and noted that he is obviously doing a better job. President Trump is guilty of no crimes.
The corrupt Biden FBI broke into President Trump’s home and stole records maintained there. President Trump was abiding by the law and the FBI raided his home.
President Trump shared the segment from Jesse Waters with attorney Mike Davis where it is clear that President Trump is doing a better job protecting his records than prior presidents (i.e. Clinton kept his records in a sock drawer, Obama kept his in an abandoned furniture store).
The comment was made during the first day of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly’s latest session in New York.
“You see a crisis in every part of the world,” Vucic told Serbian state broadcaster RTS.
“I think realistic predictions ought to be even darker. Our position is even worse, since the UN has been weakened and the great powers have taken over and practically destroyed the UN order over the past several decades.”
Russia’s “special operation” in Ukraine has escalated, Vucic argues. It is now in a much deadlier phase, he says, that could lead to World War III. (Related: Will this “great world conflict” that Vucic is warning about culminate with the end of Western civilization?)
“I assume that we’re leaving the phase of the special military operation and approaching a major armed conflict,” he says.
“And now the question becomes where is the line, and whether after a certain time – maybe a month or two, even – we will enter a great world conflict not seen since the Second World War.”
You can listen to Vucic speak below:
Are we headed towards World War III?
Vucic’s ominous words came on the same day that Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the immediate “partial mobilization” of 300,000 troops. Putin indicated that he is not bluffing, and is prepared to use “all the means at our disposal” to protect Moscow’s territorial integrity.
“Now they (the West) are talking about nuclear blackmail,” Putin said.
“The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant was shelled and also some high positions – representatives of NATO states – who are saying there might be possibility and permissibility to use nuclear weapons against Russia.”
Just to be sure that Russia’s aggressors know he is serious, Putin emphasized that his country has “various weapons of destruction” that it is ready to use immediately if need be.
“And with regard to certain components,” Putin added, “they’re even more modern than NATO ones.”
Should nuclear war break out between Russia and the United States as some expect, two thirds of the planet will starve to death within two years, determined a Rutgers University study.
As many as five billion people, the paper found, would not survive very long following the nuclear detonations, which would pollute the sky with radioactive soot while blocking out the sun and devastating food crops.
“One wonders how a generation that thinks words are ‘violence’ and misgendering someone is stochastic terrorism will react to an intercontinental nuclear war,” wrote Paul Joseph Watson for Infowars.
“The mind truly boggles.”
In the comment section, someone wrote that Putin technically has not mentioned the word nuclear at all in his statements. If anything, it is the globalists who are pinning that on him when they are the ones likely planning to drop them first.
“Russia has an arsenal of weapons that they have developed and have yet to use, including nukes,” this person wrote. “However, there’s much more fire power Putin can use before beginning to think about resorting to nukes.”
“Read between the lines, people, and stop being scared by the globalists’ propaganda that aims to destroy you all.”
As the current world order crumbles into dust, we will keep you informed about the latest at Collapse.news.
Back in January 2010, The Gateway Pundit reported on Obama’s “Safe Schools Czar” Kevin Jennings.
“Safe Schools Czar” Kevin Jennings and his organization GLSEN was encouraging children to meet adults in gay bars for sex.
From our 2010 report:
This story just gets freakier and weirder and the fact that the mainstream media completely ignores this dangerous man working in the Office of Safe and Drug-free Schools makes the story even more scandalous. You’d think the AP could peel away a few of its reporters from Going Rogue to investigate this radical czar. This avoidance by the democratic-media complex won’t keep us from reporting the truth. Our goal of protecting children is greater than our desire to protect a political party.
Kevin Jennings’ was the founder, and for many years, Executive Director of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) until he left his post in 2008. GLSEN maintains a recommended reading list of books for children that the radical organization believes all kids should be reading. The books on the list promote all kinds of radical ideas from child rape, to first graders having sex to the joys of prostitution.
Recently it was discovered that these books were not only on GLSEN’s reading list but that Kevin Jennings personally promoted several of these books during his career. One of the books he promoted encouraged children to go to gay bars for sex with adults to see if they like it. Mass Resistance Blog reported:
Some of the Alyson publications, including One Teenager in Ten …encourage teens to, among other things, go to gay bars and have sex with adults to see if they like it.” Further, One Teenager in Ten “contains a lesbian teen’s explicit account of her affair with a teacher.”
This is proof that Jennings was promoting reading material that encouraged children to go to adult gay bars for sex for over 20 years.
Police make 21 arrests in child sex trafficking operation
By: abc15.com staff
Posted at 3:11 PM, Sep 21, 2022 and last updated 4:39 AM, Sep 22, 2022
SURPRISE, AZ — More than 20 people have been arrested after a child sex trafficking operation in Surprise.
The Surprise Police Department recently conducted the operation called “Back to Skool” with help from the Scottsdale, Goodyear, Peoria, and Glendale police departments, Homeland Security, U.S. Marshals, and the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office.
It was a Valleywide undercover operation that targeted child sex crimes and human trafficking.
In total, 21 people were arrested.
During the operation, undercover detectives placed ads on websites commonly sought out by suspects seeking illegal sex acts, said officials with the Surprise Police Department.
The blessings and spiritual growth we receive from God are not according to our family, fortune, feelings, or “fate.” Christ said, “Accordingtoyourfaith let it be to you” (Matthew 9:29b; emphasis added). Would you like to know how to build a relationship with God? “Without faith it is impossible to please Him” (Hebrews 11:6a).
Here is a story about a man who had weak, uninformed faith. But he went from weak faith to saving faith in Jesus Christ.
So Jesus came again to Cana of Galilee where He had made the water wine. And there was a certain nobleman whose son was sick at Capernaum. When he heard that Jesus had come out of Judea into Galilee, he went to Him and implored Him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. Then Jesus said to him, “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will by no means believe” (John 4:46-48).
This nobleman’s thoughts were, “God, just give me sign, and I can believe.” He did not depend on the Word of God. Doubtless, he had heard that Jesus turned water into wine. So he came seventeen miles from Capernaum, thinking, “Anybody who can turn water into wine can heal my son.”
But Jesus knew that signs and wonders are very little good in strong faith. Turn back two chapters: “Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name when they saw the signs which He did” (John 2:23).
Well, isn’t that good? “But Jesus did not commit Himself to them, because He knew all men” (John 2:24). They believed in Jesus, but He did not believe in them and their superficial faith.
Jesus did perform miracles. We cannot take that out of the Word of God, nor should we wish to. But why did He perform miracles? To authenticate His ministry, so that we might believe and have eternal life. (Read John 20:30-31; Acts 2:22.)
It is also clear that the apostles did signs and wonders. (Read 2 Corinthians 12:12; Hebrews 2:4.) They did not have this power according to their own will. Because the apostles were setting the foundation of our faith, God authenticated their ministry with signs and wonders.
But that is not the program for the whole age. God has given us something better than signs and wonders.
Why did Jesus rebuke this nobleman, and why did He say, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign”? (See Matthew 12:39.)
Demanding a sign is dishonoring to God.
We have His Word. “He who does not believe God has made Him a liar” (see 1 John 5:10).
Jesus was raised from the dead, as He had promised, and most of the apostles were preaching the resurrection. But Thomas said, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe” (John 20:25b).
Later, Jesus appeared to him. “Then He said to Thomas, ‘Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side….Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:27a,29).
It was okay for Thomas to believe after seeing a sign, but he missed the blessing of simply believing the Word of our Lord.
Demanding a sign can deceive you.
The antichrist, the Beast, the devil incarnate, is coming—and how will he authenticate his ministry? Signs and wonders. (See Revelation 13:14; 2 Thessalonians 2:9.) Jesus said, “For false christs and false prophets will rise and show signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect” (Mark 13:22).
This nobleman moved from weak, superstitious faith to strong, substantive faith, and there were four progressive steps.
1. HE HEARD THE WORD OF GOD.
“The nobleman said to Him, ‘Sir, come down before my child dies!’ Jesus said to him, ‘Go your way; your son lives’” (John 4:49-50a).
Faith is not receiving what you want; faith is accepting what God gives.
This nobleman was trying to tell Jesus what to do—“Come with me to Capernaum.” But Jesus said, “You are not here to demand from Me. You are here to get a word from Me.”
Faith is taking God at His Word. “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17).
2. HE BELIEVED THE WORD OF GOD.
“So the man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him, and he went his way” (John 4:50b). It is not enough to hear the Word. If don’t believe it, you will not have faith.
“I just can’t,” you say. Your problem is not intellectual; it is moral. Your problem is in your heart, not your head. Faith is not contrary to reason—it goes beyond reason. God enables a person to believe.
Faith is a response to the character of God. When your heart is right, it will respond to the Word of God in faith. When God speaks through His Word, the Holy Spirit whispers to your heart, “That is true.”
(H3) 3. HE OBEYED THE WORD OF GOD.
This is what the Bible calls obedience of faith. (See Romans 16:26.) Faith is belief with legs on it.
“For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also” (James 2:26). If you do not obey the Word of God, you do not have strong faith.
If this nobleman still had superficial faith, he would have stayed there, begging Jesus for a sign. But he left it with Jesus. He did exactly what Jesus told him to, and believed.
(H3) 3. HE RESTED IN THE WORD OF GOD.
“And as he was now going down, his servants met him and told him, saying, ‘Your son lives!’ Then he inquired of them the hour when he got better. And they said to him, ‘Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him’” (John 4:51-52).
The Lord says, “Rest in Me.” (Read Psalm 37:5-7.) You cannot hurry the sunrise, but you cannot stop it. You cannot hurry God, but you cannot stop Him! Rest on God’s Word, and don’t try to live by emotions and visions.
“So the father knew that it was at the same hour in which Jesus said to him, ‘Your son lives.’ And he himself believed, and his whole household” (John 4:53).
Didn’t he already believe? Yes, but this is different. This man now believed not in a miracle worker, but in a Messiah. This time, he believed in Jesus as his Lord and Savior.
Jesus did not come as a healer; Jesus came as a Savior. (See Luke 19:10.) He didn’t heal everyone. There were many sick people at the pool of Bethesda, but Jesus healed just one. (Read John 5:1-9.) These were miracles that pointed to the greater miracle: new birth. (Read John 3:3-6.)
Several relationship coaches and counselling psychologists have warned that keeping friends and family close to your marriage could easily break it.
Married women, for instance are advised to think twice before letting their relatives and female friends to get close to their husbands.
Some married women allow their female friends to stay at their homes and this is totally wrong because chances of breaking the marriage are high.
Although family members are important, it is good to know they are not always friends.
Being related with a person or having friendship does not mean they wish well for you.
In fact, some friends and relatives will do anything to break your marriage, especially if things are not going well on their side.
Women are advised to put boundaries in their marriage and stop delegating wifely duties to other women. For instance, some women bring their small sisters to their house and leave for more than a week. This small sister is expected to serve the husband and in the process, a lot may happen which may affect, not only the marriage, but also respect between husband and in laws. The same may also apply when men delegate some duties to other men to their family.
After getting married, some friends, not all, but majority can be jealous.
Therefore, its highly important to put boundaries.
While it does not mean one should ignore their relatives and friends after getting married, learn to put boundaries.
Avoid sharing with friends and relatives about every detail in your marriage.
Some relatives/friends can bad-mouth your spouse if you allow them too much, hence it is necessary to PUT BOUNDARIES. Deal with your marriage privately. Third parties are MOSTLY destroyers, in today’s world.
A well-known pro-life author, sidewalk counselor, and father of seven was the latest victim of a U.S. Department of Justice-sponsored SWAT raid and arrest — for supposed “FACE Act” violations — at his rural home as his children looked on “screaming.”
Mark Houck is the founder and president of The King’s Men, which promotes healing for victims of pornography addiction and promotes Christian virtues among men in the United States and Europe…
…Ryan-Marie, who is a homeschool mother, explained the SWAT team of 25 to 30 FBI agents swarmed their property with around 15 vehicles at 7:05 a.m. this morning. Having quickly surrounded the house with rifles in firing position, “they started pounding on the door and yelling for us to open it.”
Before opening the door, she explained, her husband tried to calm them, saying, “‘Please, I’m going to open the door, but, please, my children are in the home. I have seven babies in the house.’ But they just kept pounding and screaming,” she said.
When he opened the door, “they had big, huge rifles pointed at Mark and pointed at me and kind of pointed throughout the house,” Ryan-Marie described…
The FBI was there because of Mark’s work against abortion. Recently an abortion advocate and escort reportedly harassed his son at an abortion clinic and when Houck protected his son he was accused of harassing the escort.
…On several occasions when Mark went to sidewalk counsel last year, he took his eldest son, who was only 12 at the time, she explained. For “weeks and weeks,” a “pro-abortion protester” would speak to the boy saying “crude … inappropriate and disgusting things,” such as “you’re dad’s a fag,” and other statements that were too vulgar for her to convey.
Repeatedly, Mark would tell this pro-abortion man that he did not have permission to speak to his son and please refrain from doing so. And “he kept doing it and kind of came into [the son’s] personal space” obscenely ridiculing his father. At this point, “Mark shoved him away from his child, and the guy fell back.”
“He didn’t have any injuries or anything, but he tried to sue Mark,” and the case was thrown out of court in the early summer.
This is not the first time the FBI raided pro-lifer’s homes. In April, AG Merrick Garland’s FBI sent agents at gunpoint to the homes of anti-abortion protesters who uncovered a gruesome find. Some suspect the FBI’s raid was to prevent our counter the release of evidence of infanticide.
On Thursday, LifeSiteNews covered the arrest of nine pro-life activists for blocking the entrance to a D.C. abortion center in October 2020, as part of an effort to offer help to families seeking abortion, counsel them to change their minds, pray with them, and inform them about local resource centers.
The Biden DOJ alleges that they “engaged in a conspiracy to create a blockade at the reproductive health care clinic to prevent the clinic from providing, and patients from receiving, reproductive health services” when they “forcefully entered the clinic and set about blockading two clinic doors using their bodies, furniture, chains, and ropes.” The pro-lifers face up to 11 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of up to $350,000…
…Later Thursday, it was reported that the organizer of the rescue, Lauren Handy, was arrested when the police received a tip leading to the discovery of the bodies of five aborted babies in her home, which quickly became a subject of rampant online speculation.
Now, Handy’s allies are beginning to speak out about her side of the story. The group Progressive Anti-Abortion Uprising (PAAU), for which Handy is activism director, issued a press release Friday explaining that “prior to the arrest, one of the defendants privately arranged for the Metropolitan Washington D.C. Police homicide unit to pick up five recently discovered late-term aborted babies for forensic examination. Their late gestational ages as well as their apparent sustained injuries potentially show violations of the Partial Birth Abortion Act as well as the Born Alive Infants Protection Act which are federal crimes.”
Biden’s FBI is no better than the worst militant police entities in history.
A prayer rally is scheduled tomorrow (Saturday morning September 24) at the “Philadelphia Women’s Center” abortion facility at 777 Appletree St. from 10:30 a.m. to noon for the Houck family. All are invited to come and pray peacefully.
Sources tell the Todd Starnes Radio Show that dozens of agents surrounded the home of Mark Houck with weapons drawn — terrifying the man’s wife and seven children.
“They had big, huge rifles pointed at Mark and pointed at me and kind of pointed throughout the house,” Ryan-Marie Houck told LifeSiteNews.com. “The kids were all just screaming. It was all just very scary and traumatic.”
Agents said they were arresting Houck because he reportedly shoved a pro-abortion activist who had confronted his 12-year-old son outside an abortion clinic last October.
On several occasions when Mark went to sidewalk counsel last year, he took his eldest son, who was only 12 at the time, she explained. For “weeks and weeks,” a “pro-abortion protester” would speak to the boy saying “crude … inappropriate and disgusting things,” such as “you’re dad’s a fag,” and other statements that were too vulgar for her to convey.
Repeatedly, Mark would tell this pro-abortion man that he did not have permission to speak to his son and please refrain from doing so. And “he kept doing it and kind of came into [the son’s] personal space” obscenely ridiculing his father. At this point, “Mark shoved him away from his child, and the guy fell back.”LifeSiteNews.com
The alleged victim tried to sue Houck, but the case was thrown out of court.
So, why, exactly did Attorney General Merrick Garland send a small army to arrest a prominent member of the pro-life community?
Catholic News Agency reports:
The FBI confirmed to CNA Friday that Houck was arrested outside his residence Friday morning “without incident.” In a press release, the U.S. attorney’s office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania said that Houck is being charged with a violation of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, more commonly referred to as the FACE Act.
The federal indictment says that Houck twice assaulted a 72-year-old man who was a patient escort at a Planned Parenthood clinic at 1144 Locust St. in Philadelphia on Oct. 13, 2021. First, Houck shoved the escort, identified only with the initials B.L., to the ground as B.L was attempting to escort two patients, the indictment says. Houck also “verbally confronted” and “forcefully shoved” B.L. to the ground in front of Planned Parenthood the same day, the indictment says. The indictment says that B.L. was injured and needed medical attention.
If he is convicted, Houck could face up to 11 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of up to $350,000, according to the U.S. attorney’s office. CNA
Sources tell the Todd Starnes Show that Houck was placed in shackles as agents had guns pointed at his face. His terrified children were reportedly watching from a staircase.
Houck leads a Catholic men’s group called, “The King’s Men.” He also engages in sidewalk counseling outside abortion clinics.
The Biden Administration needs to explain why they are sending armored carriers and squads of agents to bully and harass pro-lifers.
In 1 Samuel 4, Israel’s fighting their archenemies, the Philistines.
We think “Philistine” is a derogatory term for someone uncultured or uncouth.
Really the Philistines were advanced, particularly in the area of metal-working.
They’d mastered this new technology and kept it a secret from everyone else, including the Israelites.
This meant in combat, the Philistines used swords and spears while Israel used primitive weapons made of stone and wood.
It’s like the Philistines had weapons of mass destruction. They trounced the Israelites.
1 Samuel 4:2 (NLT) — The Philistines attacked and defeated the army of Israel, killing 4,000 men.
When the battle was over, the surviving Israelites gathered to debrief — the question on everyone’s mind was, “WHAT HAPPENED? WHY? WHY DID THIS HAPPEN TO US?”
1 Samuel 4:3 (NLT) — After the battle was over, the troops retreated to their camp, and the elders of Israel asked, “Why did the LORD allow us to be defeated by the Philistines?” Then they said, “Let’s bring the Ark of the Covenant of the LORD from Shiloh. If we carry it into battle with us, it will save us from our enemies.”
Someone remembered their secret weapon: The Ark of the Covenant.
1 Samuel 4:4-5 (NLT)
4 So they sent men to Shiloh to bring the Ark of the Covenant of the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, who is enthroned between the cherubim. Hophni and Phinehas, the sons of Eli, were also there with the Ark of the Covenant of God.
5 When all the Israelites saw the Ark of the Covenant of the LORD coming into the camp, their shout of joy was so loud it made the ground shake!
As they prepared for their next battle, they brought the Ark with them.
The Ark of the Covenant was a box of acacia wood overlaid with gold.
It held the tablets with the Ten Commandments, a bowl of manna, and Aaron’s old staff . that budded.
On top were angels — the Israelites believed God literally sat, enthroned, on those 2 angels.
This was the manifest presence of God.
1 Samuel 4:5 (NLT) — When all the Israelites saw the Ark of the Covenant of the LORD coming into the camp, their shout of joy was so loud it made the ground shake!
So what if the Philistines had iron — Israel had the Ark!
Their rationale was, “OK, God, your honor is at stake now. If we lose this time, people won’t just think about Israel as losers; they’ll think Israel’s God is a loser too!
You don’t want the Philistines to think their god is greater than You, so You have to make us win now!”
THEY KNOW THEY CAN’T LOSE…….RIGHT?
UNBELIEVABLE! THE ISRAELITES LOST! IN FACT, THEY LOST BIG!
Their loss was so catastrophic that one man ran back to Shiloh with his clothes torn and face dirty, to report it to Eli, the old priest.
1 Samuel 4:12 (NLT) — A man from the tribe of Benjamin ran from the battlefield and arrived at Shiloh later that same day. He had torn his clothes and put dust on his head to show his grief.
Eli was blind, so he couldn’t see the man’s sorry state, but he was given four pieces of information that went from bad to worse:
The battle was so bad we had to run away.
Before we could run, we suffered heavy losses.
Both your sons were killed.
THEY GOT THE ARK!
1 Samuel 4:13-18 (NLT) — Eli was waiting beside the road to hear the news of the battle, for his heart trembled for the safety of the Ark of God. When the messenger arrived and told what had happened, an outcry resounded throughout the town.
14 “What is all the noise about?” Eli asked. The messenger rushed over to Eli,
15 who was ninety-eight years old and blind.
16 He said to Eli, “I have just come from the battlefield—I was there this very day.” “What happened, my son?” Eli demanded.
17 “Israel has been defeated by the Philistines,” the messenger replied. “The people have been slaughtered, and your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, were also killed. And the Ark of God has been captured.”
18 When the messenger mentioned what had happened to the Ark of God, Eli fell backward from his seat beside the gate. He broke his neck and died, for he was old and overweight. He had been Israel’s judge for forty years.
The news so shocked fat Eli that he fell backwards off the wall where he sat and broke his neck and died.
His daughter-in-law heard the terrible news and went into premature labor, her death was imminent.
1 Samuel 4:19-22 (NLT)
19 Eli’s daughter-in-law, the wife of Phinehas, was pregnant and near her time of delivery. When she heard that the Ark of God had been captured and that her father-in-law and husband were dead, she went into labor and gave birth.
20 She died in childbirth, but before she passed away the midwives tried to encourage her. “Don’t be afraid,” they said. “You have a baby boy!” But she did not answer or pay attention to them.
21 She named the child Ichabod (which means “Where is the glory?”), for she said, “Israel’s glory is gone.” She named him this because the Ark of God had been captured and because her father-in-law and husband were dead.
22 Then she said, “The glory has departed from Israel, for the Ark of God has been captured.”
The midwife tried to encourage her saying there’s still hope because she was having a son.
She told the midwife to name the boy “ICHABOD,” because the glory of God had departed from Israel. (That’s what Ichabod means)
Ichabod is the negative form of “chabod” — the most important word in this story is “Chabod” meaning “weighty or heavy,” figuratively it means glory.
Chabod was everything majestic; where chabod was present there was dignity, meaning, purpose, and hope.
Now that’s all gone — the child’s name would serve as a reminder.
To lose the ark was much worse than just losing a battle — it wasn’t about just losing a religious relic or object of historical interest.
The Ark was where God sat to reign over His people!
With the Ark gone, God was gone!
This meant God either couldn’t hear, didn’t care, or wouldn’t help!
So had this whole God thing just been a lie?
Was Abraham just out looking at the stars talking to himself?
Did Moses really see a burning bush?
Were these all just fairy tales, and the Ark just a box?
Have we lived horrible lives, and now we’re all destined to die on the same day.
So as to not disillusion this little son of mine from the day he’s born — he’ll grow up an orphan, and every time someone says his name, it’ll remind him that the glory is gone. That’s the reality — ICHABOD!
God let the Philistines drag His Ark from Ebenezer to Ashdod.
He let them mock and taunt Him! “He couldn’t save His own people; He couldn’t even save Himself!”
That won’t be the last time something like this happens………..
What God does next is crazy.
– He allowed Himself to be captured.
1 Samuel 5:1-2 (NLT) — After the Philistines captured the Ark of God, they took it from the battleground at Ebenezer to the town of Ashdod. They carried the Ark of God into the temple of Dagon and placed it beside an idol of Dagon.
Unlike any other god, YAHWEH took on the suffering, loss, pain, embarrassment, and humiliation of His people. He carried their shame on His back.
WHAT KIND OF GOD WOULD DO SUCH A THING? WHAT WAS GOD GOING TO DO NOW?
The Philistines took the Ark to the temple of their god, Dagon.
They believed Dagon had triumphed over YAHWEH, so they put the Ark at the feet of this statue of Dagon.
They had a big feast, chanted all their favorite chants, told war stories, and went home.
That night something happened.
1 Samuel 5:3 (NLT ) — But when the citizens of Ashdod went to see it the next morning, Dagon had fallen with his face to the ground in front of the Ark of the LORD! So they took Dagon and put him in his place again.
When the priests came the next morning, they found their god, Dagon had fallen on his face before the Ark of YAHWEH.
Was it an accident? A coincidence?
It looked like Dagon was bowing down to worship the God of Israel!
That wasn’t good when you’re a priest of Dagon, (Imagine having to prop your god up!) so they dusted him off, propped him up, and held another all-day celebration.
Once again night came, and with the lights out, YAHWEH is left alone with Dagon.
1 Samuel 5:4 (NLT) — But the next morning the same thing happened—Dagon had fallen face down before the Ark of the LORD again. This time his head and hands had broken off and were lying in the doorway. Only the trunk of his body was left intact.
How surprised the priests must’ve been when next morning they made the same discovery — this time Dagon’s head and hands were severed and lain neatly across the threshold of his temple.
The rest of Dagon was bowing down to YAHWEH!
The play-by-play details of what took place remain a mystery, but we know this took place over the course of 3 days.
The first day was a dark day for Israel — it looked like God was defeated — the glory was gone — Heaven was silent — no one knew why. Some days are like that.
The 2nd day was the day of hidden combat, and it was shrouded in mystery. It was a day of distress and anxiety. Some days are like that too.
BUT THE 3RD DAY WAS THE LORD’S DAY!
On the 3rd day God does some of His best work at night! Remember that when you feel everything is dark and foreboding—God is still there!
On the 3rd day, joy comes in the morning!
On the 3rd day, stones get rolled away, idols get disarmed, and people are filled with awe and wonder!
Remember, it might seem like God’s defeated on Friday, but Sunday’s coming!
The Philistines in Ashdod were afflicted by a plague that’s kind of unseemly.
God plagued them with rats and Bubonic Plague (causes bleeding hemorrhoids).
Some say it was tumors — others say it was mice (the Hebrew words are similar), but some of the older translations are less afraid or ashamed to say it was hemorrhoids.
Yes! God struck them with hemorrhoids!
The Bible actually says they had hemorrhoids “in their secret parts”
1 Samuel 5:9 (KJV) And it was so, that, after they had carried it about, the hand of the LORD was against the city with a very great destruction: and he smote the men of the city, both small and great, and they had emerods in their secret parts.
“Secret parts” is the usual location for hemorrhoids, right?
Notice the irony here! People who know how to work with iron need a soft place to sit. God sure has a sense of humor!
In God’s Presence we are all embarrassingly human, and no amount of iron swords or spears will help when what is needed most is a doughnut pillow.
The Ashdod Town Council called a town meeting and decided maybe having the Ark in their city wasn’t all they thought it would be — maybe someone else should have a turn mocking the Ark.
They voted to send it to Gath.
It wasn’t long before everyone in Gath was looking for a soft place to sit.
The people of Gath decided they didn’t want to be selfish either so they’d let the people of Ekron have a turn with the Ark, but the Ekron people wouldn’t even let it in their gates.
Apparently word had spread quickly.
All the Philistine city leaders came together to figure how to handle this delicate situation.
They decided to just send the Ark back to Israel.
They called their priests together to ask how to do this. The priests recommended to appease this YAHWEH God with a bribe.
What did they recommend? 5 golden hemorrhoids and five golden mice.
1 Samuel 6:2-5 (KJV) — And the Philistines called for the priests and the diviners, saying, What shall we do to the ark of the LORD? tell us wherewith we shall send it to his place.
3 And they said, If ye send away the ark of the God of Israel, send it not empty; but in any wise return him a trespass offering: then ye shall be healed, and it shall
be known to you why his hand is not removed from you.
4 Then said they, What shall be the trespass offering which we shall return to him? They answered, Five golden emerods, and five golden mice, according to the number of the lords of the Philistines: for one plague was on you all, and on your lords. Wherefore ye shall make images of your emerods, and images of your mice that mar the land; and ye shall give glory unto the God of Israel: peradventure he will lighten his hand from off you, and from off your gods, and from off your land.
It’s interesting to see that the priests knew about how God had delivered Israel from Egypt and the Pharaoh:
1 Samuel 6:6 (NLT) — Don’t be stubborn and rebellious as Pharaoh and the Egyptians were. By the time God was finished with them, they were eager to let Israel go.
Just to be sure this wasn’t all a big coincidence, they come up with an ingenious plan: Get 2 milk cows still nursing calves and have never been yoked up before and hitch them to a cart.
They took their calves away from the cows and penned them up.
They loaded the Ark on the cart with the golden objects and just let it go.
They figure it would take a miracle for 2 cows to abandon their calves and know how to pull a cart all the way back to Israel.
The Bible says — 1 Samuel 6:12 (NLT) — And sure enough, without veering off in other directions, the cows went straight along the road toward Beth-shemesh, lowing as they went. The Philistine rulers followed them as far as the border of Beth-shemesh.
This crazy story has a lot of content and many deep theological truths we could check out, but to be honest, all I can think about is what a golden hemorrhoid must look like.
Moving right along!
To begin gleaning the lessons: The Israelites got off track when their thinking shifted from how glorious God is to how useful God might be!
They stopped thinking about how God deserved honor and worship and started seeing Him as someone who could be manipulated into doing what they wanted.
They thought they had God in a box — turns out, He doesn’t stay there or in anyone else’s neat, little box.
God refuses to be manipulated, and He can’t be controlled.
– He does the unexpected, and He goes where He wants.
God is described in many ways, but tame isn’t one of them.
This time He lets Himself be taken captive and made fun of — He disarms false gods, He humbles the proud, and He uses milk cows to get His work done!
Later the glory of God came to earth — not in a box, but in a human body.
We saw His glory, one of His friends wrote, but He didn’t match our expectations.
He had no money, no title, no power, and no army — and He was taken captive.
He was paraded through the streets to be mocked and taunted.
The people shouted — Luke 23:35-37 (NLT) — The crowd watched and the leaders scoffed. “He saved others,” they said, “let him save himself if he is really God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.”
36 The soldiers mocked him, too, by offering him a drink of sour wine.
37 They called out to him, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!”
And Jesus took the name “Ichabod” as He cried out, “My God, My God! Why have You forsaken Me?”
HE DIED! HIS BODY WAS PUT IN ANOTHER CONTAINER — SEALED WITH A STONE. AND ON THE 3RD DAY, WE DISCOVER ONCE AGAIN WE SERVE A GOD WHO DOES SOME OF HIS BEST WORK AT NIGHT WHEN NO ONE IS AROUND!
A GOD PERFECTLY CAPABLE OF FINDING A WAY TO GET HIMSELF FREE!
A GOD WHO WON’T STAY IN THE CONFINEMENTS WE MAKE FOR HIM.
DON’T TRY TO KEEP GOD IN YOUR BOX!
One thing more: the cows were lowing as they went — mooing as they brought God back to His people.
The significance I see there is remembering when Jesus had a parade with Him as He entered Jerusalem.
People were shouting and singing, and the religious leaders tried to get Jesus to make them stop.
Jesus said, “If these people don’t shout, the rocks will!”
Maybe the cows knew if they didn’t moo, the stones would cry out.
WHEN GOD COMES BACK TO HIS PEOPLE, SOMEONE OR SOMETHING HAS TO MAKE SOME NOISE!
Don't believe in the Devil?
That's exactly where Satin wants you. He and his demonic hosts are working hard to deceive you because he knows his time is running out and he will soon be cast into the bottomless pit. One pastor told me to leave Satin alone because "If we leave him alone will leave us alone." That's dumb because he doesn't intend to leave you or your family alone. You must learn how to stand against him.
In this book you will find how:
-Demons enter in the first place.
-How to be set free from demonic bondage.
-How to stay free.
-Pit falls Satin hopes you will fall into so he can destroy you and your family.
-How to have a close walk with Jesus Christ and enjoy victory in your life.
Remember: THERE IS STILL POWER IN THE BLOOD!
We should never be too busy to notice others—and love them—as God does.
Jamie A. Hughes August 14, 2022
Sunday mornings can be one of the most hectic times of the week for families with children. Getting everyone up, fed, dressed, and out the door feels like a Herculean task—one of those things that can be accomplished only through prayer and fasting. So every time I see a family walk through a sanctuary door, I can’t help but be proud of them because I remember that season and everything it required of me as a wife and mother.
A few weeks ago we were sitting next to a family with two small children, a boy and girl both under the age of 5. They slipped in after the service began and sat down, trying their best not to draw attention to themselves. Mom had brought a few toys for each child and even thought to bring a blanket to cover the wooden pew and keep everything from making too much racket.
She watched them throughout the service, dividing her attention between worship and managing their activities. She flinched every time things were a little too loud for her liking, and I witnessed her hold each child in turn when they became fussy, speaking to them sweetly and kissing the tops of their heads. It was a marvel of multitasking to be sure, but somehow, she did it. Yet the entire experience clearly left her rather wrung out.
As she was packing up, I leaned over to gather a few toys that were beyond her reach and handed them to her. We then folded up the blanket, making it small enough to fit into her carryall. We did all this wordlessly, two women performing a task that needed doing with skill and efficiency, but I felt compelled to say something before we parted ways. Patting her hand, I looked her in the eye and said, “I see you, Mama.” I wanted her to know that, far from judging her for all the ways she might have failed, someone had noticed all that hard work and believed she’d done an excellent job.
I looked her in the eye and said, “I see you, Mama.” I wanted her to know that, far from judging her for all the ways she might have failed, someone had noticed all that hard work and believed she’d done an excellent job.
The effect was instantaneous. Her shoulders and face relaxed noticeably, and she took a deep cleansing breath. She even managed a small smile as she said, “Thank you.” The moment was brief. Before we could say anything else to one another, the children began pulling at her skirt, saying something about wanting donuts in the fellowship hall, and they left together—a happy, twirling mass of curly hair and untucked shirts.
In our latest resource, Fully Human: 21 Days to Flourishing Relationships, Dr. Stanley writes, “How well we love, listen to, and sacrifice for others may vary in degree, but it shouldn’t be limited to those closest to us. How often does the course of our day change because of a kind word, small sacrifice, or friendly smile from another person? We can offer that same grace to everyone around us—from a passerby on the sidewalk to the people we spend most of our time with.”
There have been many moments when I was the recipient of such acts of kindness: encouraging words from fellow teachers when I wanted to leave the classroom forever; heartfelt condolences and home-cooked meals from church friends when my grandfather died; and even a compliment from a stranger who told me I looked beautiful on a day when I felt anything but. Proverbs 17:22 tells us, “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.” I’ve experienced both extremes and am certain that when people loved me well through words and actions, my joyful heart was restored. Their gentleness and thoughtfulness changed everything. Because of them, I understand how essential we are to one another’s survival, and my eyes are always open. I want to be that person for someone else. I need to show compassion as much as others need to receive it (if not more so).
“How often does the course of our day change because of a kind word, small sacrifice, or friendly smile from another person? We can offer that same grace to everyone around us—from a passerby on the sidewalk to the people we spend most of our time with.”
Those four simple words on Sunday morning cost me nothing, but I could tell they meant a great deal to her—a fellow pilgrim on the Way who, like me, is walking in God’s light, truth, and love as best she knows how (Acts 9:2; 1 John 1:5; 2 John 1:4-5). In his sermon “Christian Friendship,” Dr. Stanley says, “God not only made us for Himself, but He made us for each other. He made us to need one another. He made us to cooperate and to fellowship one with the other.” Together, that young mother and I, for the briefest of moments, were in community demonstrating love for one another.
As the Founding Fathers retired and grew old in the nation they had worked so hard to create, many people wrote to them from all over the world for a wide variety of reasons. In fact, it is estimated that Thomas Jefferson wrote at least 19,000 letters throughout the course of his life—and that’s a conservative estimate, in all likelihood he wrote a vast number more that have not survived.[i]
Several times in his later years, Jefferson received letters from parents who named their children after the aged president. The mothers would ask Jefferson to leave some kind advice to the newborn child for them to read whenever they got old enough.
One such parent was Sarah Grotjan, the daughter of an officer from the War for Independence, who wrote to Jefferson on January 1, 1824. She explained to the old president that he is the namesake and designated godfather for her son, and then requested that he leave the child his words and guidance. Grotjan expressed that:
This testimony of one of the fathers of our blessed country, will be to me the most invaluable bequest; and should, which God grant, my son grow up to manhood, and inherit the spirit of his father & mother, it will be to him a talisman, calculated to operate on him through the course of his life. It will stimulate him to imitate the virtues of those heroes and sages, whom it was not his fate to know, but to whom he will feel himself drawn as by consanguinity [blood relation], being in possession of the only posthumous testimony in the power of mortals to give.[ii]
Thomas Jefferson was apparently moved to write back with advice and encouragement. So, nine days later he wrote back to the newborn Thomas Jefferson Grotjan:
Your affectionate mother requests that I would address to you, as a namesake, something which might have a favorable influence on the course of life you have to run. Few words are necessary, with good dispositions on your part. Adore God; reverence and cherish your parents; love your neighbor as yourself, and your country more than life. Be just; be true; murmur not at the ways of Providence—and the life into which you have entered will be one of eternal and ineffable bliss. And if to the dead it is permitted to care for the things of this world, every action of your life will be under my regard. Farewell.[iii]
Jefferson highlights the eternal principles which resonate throughout the Bible. He summarizes and recalls several of Jesus’s most poignant teachings. Jefferson points quite plainly to Matthew 15:4, where Jesus recites the commandment to, “honor thy father and mother.” Additionally, Jefferson quotes Mark 12:31 where Jesus orders His follows that, “thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”
Jefferson’s words offer timeless advice which one would do well to follow today. By pointing the child to follow God, Jefferson gives him the best advice known to man.
Something which makes Jefferson’s letter to his namesake even more historically significant is that several years after the Grotjen’s received it Andrew Jackson passed through town while he was president. The family presented Thomas Jefferson’s letter to Jackson and asked him to add any advice of his own. The new president, after reading what his predecessor wrote, added below:
I can add nothing to the admirable advice given to his son by that virtuous patriot and enlightened statesman, Thomas Jefferson. The precious relic which he sent to the young child, contains the purest morality, and inculcates the noblest sentiments. I can only recommend a rigid adherence to them. They will carry him through life safely and respectably: and what is far better, they will carry him through death triumphantly; and we may humbly trust they will secure to all, who in principle and practice adopt them, that crown of immortality described in the Holy scriptures.[iv]
To have two presidents both taking the time to write to a small child and then to both express a total reliance on God seems to have resonated powerfully with the family and their community. Shortly thereafter facsimile copies were made and distributed with some explanatory information in the margins so that people could read and share the same principles with their own children and families.
[i] J. Jefferson Looney, “Number of Letters Jefferson Wrote,” Monticello (March 24, 2008), here
[ii] Sarah Grotjan, “To Thomas Jefferson, January 1, 1824,” Founders Online (accessed May 13, 2019), here
[iii] Thomas Jefferson, Paul Ford, edt., “To Thomas Jefferson Grotjan, January 10, 1824,” The Works of Thomas Jefferson (New York: The Knickerbocker Press, 1905), Vol. XII, p. 331.
[iv] Andrew Jackson, “To Thomas Jefferson Grotjan, June 9, 1833,” Library of Congress (accessed May 14, 2019), here